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Brígida Silva de Ochoa

Other names/titles:
Gender: F
Ethnic origin: Unknown

Biographical details

From Lima, she supported the independence cause from 1809, when her brothers took part in a conspiracy. Hipólito Unanue recommended that she be awarded una Banda de Seda for her efforts for the patriot cause. (Neuhaus Rizo, 119.)

Together with fellow limeñas Rosa Campusano and Carmen Guzmán, she spread libertarian ideas throughout Lima and the provinces. Between 1819 and 1820 she dealt with San Martín’s correspondence that was left buried in the sand on the beaches at Ancón; it was then taken to Lima by her brother, Colonel Remigio Silva.

She also acted as messenger between the patriots and the Argentine Mayor, Domingo Torres, who was confined by the Viceroy in the Santa Catalina barracks. She took advantage of the fact that her son worked in the barracks and made contact with Torres. (Balta, 28.)

She was awarded the Orden del Sol by San Martín in 1822. (Gaceta de Lima, 23-1-1822, p.3)

She was sister of Coronel Remigio Silva and the lawyer Mateo Silva who were both active patriots. She had 4 daughters and 3 sons. She became politicised when her brothers were imprisoned for their part in the independence struggles. From then onwards she served as an intermediary receiving and delivering communications from and to the patriots. No one suspected her as her eldest son, Manuel, was a member of the royalist artillery, quartered in Santa Catalina barracks. She visited her brother, Remigio, in prison on the pretext of coming to see her son who was based at the same place and passed on correspondence. Through Silva de Ochoa, the patriots were put in contact with General Torres in 1807 and in 1810 she sent orders to Dr. Anchoria and father Tagle and other patriot prisoners. Tagle said of her "Ojala todas las de su sexo, imitando su comportamiento e instruídas, de algún modo en sus verdaderos intereses, hubieran coadyuvado a formar la opinión pública , que entonces habrían respirado, el patriotismo ascendrado, el odio profundo a la tiranía y los más vivos deseos, de que se realizase nuestra independencia civil, para felicidad y progreso de América."
In helping the prisoners, Silva de Ochoa did not become a marimacho; she did not compromise her femininity by taking up arms. She helped the prisoners, received boletines from Paredes and García and passed them on to the people of Lima. Her youngest son, José Ochoa was imprisoned following the discovery of a planned invasion by José Medina, but José did not reveal the whereabouts of those involved, among them his brother José María and his uncles (his mother's brothers). Silva de Ochoa spent her last centavo feeding and clothing the prisoners when they were transferred to Callao. After independence was achieved, several men testified to her contribution to the cause and she was thus awarded the Orden del Sol. She was also awarded a pension of 30 pesos as she was left in straightened circumstances, but she did not receive it regularly. (García y García, 211-214)

Related to Dr. Diego de Silva, and Eugenio Silva who subscribed to El Mercurio Peruano, 1791-93?

Life Events

Other 1819Between 1819 and 1820 she dealt with San Martín’s correspondence.
Other 1822She was awarded the Orden del Sol.


Balta Campbell, Aída, (1998), Presencia de la mujer en el periodismo escrito peruano (1821-1960)

Neuhaus Rizo Patrón, Carlos, (1997), Las Mariscalas

García y García, Elvira, (1924), La mujer peruana a través de los siglos

, (1950), Gaceta del Gobierno de Lima Independiente, Tomos I-III, Julio 1822-dic 1822

Davies, Catherine, Brewster, Claire and Owen, Hilary, (2006), South American Independence. Gender, Politics, Text


There is no writing by this subject in the database.


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